In case you didn’t hear it, that explosive sound was me giving a giant round of applause to Merrell for designing a really kick-ass minimalist trail shoe.
End of review.
Haha…just kidding. I’ve got to write more than that, because I took a bunch of really awesome photos and I like to anchor my photos with a little text.
The Wide Width Pace Glove is of course the wide version of the popular Pace Glove, Merrell’s minimalist trail shoe for women. The Pace Glove came out last spring, and I picked up a pair of them one day while out looking for a non-toe-pocketed running shoe to wear on the trails by my house. They were a strikingly cute lime-green color and I loved them. But alas, after a few miles I realized they were just too narrow for my monkey feet so I gave them away to a friend. Sad face.
Fast forward to this spring, when my contact at Merrell tells me they have a wide-width version of this shoe now. Imagine my drooling surprise! I was so glad to get them in the mail – it was like being reunited with a long-lost friend. A long lost friend who’s changed her ill-fitting ways and has come back as an improved version of herself. And in gray and purple.
Since wiping the drool off, I’ve put about 25 trail miles on these girls, including last weekend’s 13 mile long run. Some quick and relevant stats on these: they have 4mm zero-drop Vibram rubber soles with a 1mm thick rock plate that protects your feet from the occasional sharp, pointy rock that you didn’t see. The uppers are made of microfiber mesh and synthetic leather, and there is a nifty little rubber bumper at the toe – perfect for the 300 or so rocks I inevitably end up kicking around the trails during my runs. Merrell’s Omni-Fit lacing system keeps the laces evenly tight throughout. It’s a slick design with some pretty sound details overall.
But, all construction features aside, the thing that makes this shoe such an exceptional piece of footwear is the fact that it’s…just there. It just stays there and does its job, no questions asked. It’s definitely more “shoe” than most of what’s in my closet these days, but it really doesn’t feel like much. When I’m running there isn’t any rubbing, chafing, pinching, twisting. No adjustments need to be made. My foot doesn’t get cramped or go numb. My heel doesn’t get chewed. The shoe surrounds my foot perfectly, and then pretty much gets forgotten as I enjoy my run. It’s hard to quantify just how amazingly good this is for someone with feet like mine that just…well, don’t really like shoes.
The only painful thing that happened with these shoes is at one point I clipped my right ankle with the sandy heel of my left shoe, while making a sharp turn on some loose dirt. It dug a pretty good chunk of flesh out of my ankle bone. These are some rugged trail shoes, they’re like little trail-chewing monsters. The tread isn’t all that deep, and there hasn’t been any ice or slippery ground available for me to test on, but so far they’ve been great at keeping me upright over rocks, roots and gravel.
I loved the Wide Width Trail Glove so much that I even let my good friend Kathy test it for a few miles today (woohoo, two-for-one shoe review!). She’d had some prior questions about the “supportive arch,” as she put it, that she felt once when trying the regular-width version of these shoes on at the store. I assured her that the molded construction of the sole is there to hold your foot in place, not support it. I think she believed me. After a couple of miles, Kathy reported that she found the Pace Glove to be much roomier than the shoe she’s been wearing (last year’s original NB Minimus Trail – now called the “Minimus 10“) and that she wasn’t getting the usual hotspot in her forefoot that had been causing her blisters. I think she liked them as much as I do.
The only real gripe I have about the wide width Pace Glove is that it never really came out in stores – or at least not any of the ones I frequent. So I never even knew they existed, and had written off the shoe altogether. It could be because the regular width shoe sells quite well and perhaps Merrell isn’t seeing enough of a demand for it to add it to every store shelf. But given that I’ve owned both, I think the wide-width Pace Glove is a better choice for anyone who doesn’t describe their foot as narrow. That extra bit of room makes an amazing difference in the wide width shoe; it provides an appropriate amount of space for the foot to flatten on landing, and for toes to splay. It does what it’s supposed to: encourages natural foot movement.
I can finally see why everyone loves this shoe. My wide-ass feet are pretty late to the party, yes. But hey, at least they got there.
- Review: Merrell Women’s Dash Glove (barefoot-monologues.com)
- Review: VIVOBAREFOOT Neo Trail (barefootmonologues.wordpress.com)
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April 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM
What are the comparisons and differences with the Merril Wide Width Pace Glove and Vivobarefoot Breatho?
April 22, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Hi Joanne. Good question. The Wide Pace Glove and the Breatho are completely different shoes for different runner expectations. The pace glove’s stiffer sole and rock plate make sharp rocks and roots easier on your feet, which makes them a better shoe choice for rough terrain. The breatho’s more pliable sole conforms to the ground much like the anatomy of your foot, giving you better prioperception, and ultimately, better overall balance. The breaths have aggressive lugs that eat through sand, loose gravel, ice and snow like its nothing. Good for tough hills too. I haven’t yet been able to give as much of a test to the less aggressive sole texture of the pace glove, but so far so good. And the sole is more comfortable on the pace glove. I actually find the pace glove to be more comfortable than the breatho overall. As far as looks though, I do prefer the Breatho. Not that the last part matters as much as performance, but hey, I’m a girl. 🙂
Hope that answers your question.
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December 18, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Hi, thanks for your review! I just bought a pair of Merrell Pace shoes. I would like to use them primarily for every day walking shoes to help strengthen my feet after a few long-distance running injuries. While in the store, I tested out both the Dash and the Pace but couldn’t sense any immediate difference. Do you have any thoughts as to which of the two could be more comfortable as a walking shoe? Thank you!
December 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM
Hi Ann, thanks for reading. The answer to your question is really a matter of personal preference, but the Dash glove and Pace glove are both very similar…and very different. They are both built with a very similar mindfulness to minimalism. But the biggest difference between the two is that the Pace Glove is built for trails and the Dash Glove is made for roads. That said, I do think the Pace Glove is the more versatile shoe because I like it for roads and trails. It also comes in a wide width, which I prefer.
January 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM
As a barefoot newbie (have only done bf runs on the tm this winter) would u recommend the pace or dash for road running in the Spring? Love your website- soooo informative!!! Thx!
January 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM
The Dash glove is made specifically for roads so I would say you can’t go wrong with the Dash Glove. Even after several months this is one of my main go-to shoes for roads. On the other hand, the Pace Glove is made for trails, but it can really be used for both. If you’re the type of gal who wants one shoe for everything, then I’d say go for the Pace Glove.
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June 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM
I’m on my second pair of these in regular width, and am considering trying the wide width. I’m also very intrigued by the vivobarefoot breathos. My first pair of pace gloves were amazing, I logged hundreds of miles in them without a single blister, but this last pair rubs the top of my middle toe something fierce. I’ve read a lot of people have issues with the lugs wearing off on the vivobarefoot trail soles. Are they as durable as the pace gloves? Also which do you think performs better wet. A lot of my trail runs involve crossing creeks. By the way, I love that you blog about barefoot running shoes and have short wide feet. I also have short wide feet and love minimalist running shoes. 🙂
June 21, 2013 at 1:56 PM
Thanks for reading, Sarah! I like my vivo’s for harder terrains – slippery, gravelly, whatever needs great grip. The just hold on to the ground better. The lugs are insane, I cant imagine them deteriorating too fast – unless for some reason I wore them on road a lot? I know a lot of people but trail shoes and hope they work in pavement. These don’t work that way. The vivo trail shoes are just good for trail. The Pace gloves though, work for both.
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May 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM
They no longer sell them in wide width?!? Do you know if anyone sell them with wide width anymore?
September 29, 2015 at 9:33 AM
I just discovered that. I will soon need to replace mine and I can’t find wide width anywhere!!!! 😥